Friday, January 24, 2014

Temple Trip of Blessings

It has been a beautifully hectic week!!  I’m sorry for not writing sooner, but I had to clear a path to the computers before I could. J  No complaints here.  It’s a joyful mess to organize.J

Since Jackson’s twelfth birthday a few weeks ago, he has been an official member of the young men’s program at our church.  This week happened to be their designated week to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. 

(Let me briefly explain this concept.)

There are thousands and thousands of people who lived beautiful and worthy lives to return to live with God… according to the knowledge they had received.  Who, had they received the opportunity or full understanding of Jesus and HIS gospel, would have chosen Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and would have followed HIS gospel and been baptized.  None of us can judge or decide who received a fullness of that opportunity while they were living in mortality here on Earth.  I believe God is so merciful that HE has provided a way for them to receive the ordinances necessary to live with HIM forever.  

I believe there is great teaching and learning about Jesus Christ in the world of spirits after we die. Since we all must receive a baptism as Jesus did in order to live with HIM, we are halted in our eternal progression until we take that step. Baptisms for the dead allow everyone the opportunity to be baptized.  This means one who is living worthily can be baptized in proxy for them.  The person who has received a proxy baptism may then accept or deny that baptism…. Sometimes we receive spiritual confirmation of that acceptance, and sometimes we never know.

Youth have to be 12-years old and living worthily in order to enter the temple to do this ordinance.    On Sunday, Jackson received his interview and recommend from the Bishop to enter into the temple.  I wanted him to have this opportunity to go, but I still wasn’t sure how we would manage getting him from our new home back to the church (an hour and 45 minutes away) in time to go to the temple with the other youth… on moving day!!

I decided to seize the opportunity and try to make it work!  I prayed for help!

Tyson and I took a vanload full of boxes to our new house and unloaded it as fast as we could.  Abe and his dad packed up the moving truck, and Jackson and Abe’s mom watched the little ones back at my in-laws’ house.

I searched through and dumped several boxes finding Jackson’s socks, shoes, and a tie for the temple.  While at our new house, I realized I didn’t have Jackson’s suit for the temple- it was with Abe.   He was driving toward our new house while I was driving back to the old house.  We met halfway off the highway.  He gave me Jackson’s suit (and a kiss), and we were off in opposite directions. 

On my way to pick up Jackson, my GPS led me to take two different nonexistent exits!!  I grumbled as I eyed the clock and had to backtrack several miles trying to find my way.  (I’m directionally challenged, so to make my own intelligent decisions on directions doesn’t usually turn out so well.)

I had to be back at the church with Jackson by 5:15. I picked up Jackson, and he hurriedly dressed while I drove.  We arrived at 5:16!!

Phew!!  Once I got there I lingered for a moment watching my young son join in with the older kids.  He had a sweet, humble look on his face.  I could tell he was preparing for a very special experience.  He knew where and what he was about to do.  I was so grateful that amidst the hurriedness of moving, Jackson hadn’t forgotten what was most important. 

I wasn’t going to write in my blog for a few more days until I felt more settled in my home; but as I prayed this morning, the thought came to me to write about Jackson’s experience in the temple.  Now as I write, I know why God told me to write….

Unlike Jackson, amidst the hurriedness of moving, I DID forget what was most important.  I haven’t been reading the scriptures with my children, and I haven’t been doing an in-depth scripture study on my own.  (I’ve hardly taken time to shower!)

I kept saying in my mind, “Let me just get unpacked and back on a schedule, and then we’ll get back into our scriptures.”

Oh boy have I been mistaken!!  Providing spiritual protection for myself and for my children should be part of who I am and what I do for basic survival.

After all that I know and all that I understand, how could I place boxes and things before God?  I am repenting and starting the day off right today.  I know for a FACT that my mind will be clearer today, and my heart will be more joyful and ready to handle the day’s challenges.  I refuse to bypass this important part of who I am. I sure am glad when God reminds me of my mistakes, so I can be successful!  He wants us to succeed!!

Jackson returned from the temple on Tuesday night with a beautiful smile and a glow about him.  He had been waiting for years for this night.  While I rushed around doing a final cleanup of my in-laws’ house, Jackson kept stopping me in my scurries because he wanted to talk to me about some of the people for whom he was baptized.  He told me he felt such a beautiful spirit.  Every once in a while I would look over at him, and his HUGE grin and shining eyes never faded.  He seemed to me to be standing as a pillar of goodness and joy amongst the rest of us in our swirling scurries.  I can still see that smile and glow in my mind.  I want to be more like Jackson….

Jackson’s temple trip did much for me:

*I felt God’s hand in my life because it was definitely a tender mercy that we arrived exactly on time for Jackson’s temple trip. 

*I felt inspired to reach higher in my own life as I saw my son as a pillar of goodness.  I have that vivid image that I want to emulate… It is certain that our lives will see more busy days, and I want to be that pillar of goodness and joy… preoccupied with the things of God.

*I feel grateful for forgiveness and the opportunity to try to be better.  Because the Holy Ghost spoke to my heart to write today, I changed my perception of scripture study as a part of who I am instead of a part of my schedule. 

*And lastly, the picture I posted is of Jackson and his buddy from church.  For both of them, it was their first time doing baptisms; and even though we are moving, they will be forever friends having shared this special experience together.  I see two future missionaries, and I can't help but cry...